Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110 001
Dated: 16th November, 2020
Timely promotions are events in one’s career which every person in service looks forward to. Intricacies of cadre review or changes in RRs, at times, put spokes in the smooth and proper meshing of the old with the new. It has been the Board’s endeavour to remove such anomalies. The posts of STA / DOS were re-designated as Executive Assistant (EA) during Cadre Restructuring 2013, leading to certain issues in its implementation in the field. The Board has had the matter examined. I am happy to share that, with the efforts of the Joint Secretary (Admin) and her team, the Board has been able to issue a clarification for the regularisation of approximately 1250 promotions to the Executive Assistant cadre. It’s a matter of happiness that as per initial feedback this pre-Diwali clarification has made the festival season a little brighter and brought cheer to many in the Ministerial Cadre. All Cadre Controlling Authorities are requested to carefully go through the clarification and do the needful on this matter in a time-bound manner.
The past week gave us an opportunity to showcase our commitment to protecting our heritage. The Hon’ble Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman handed over 40,301 antique seals / stamps and coins of India’s ancient and medieval period to Tourism & Culture Minister (I/C) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel at North Block, New Delhi. These antiquities were attempted to be smuggled out of India but were caught and confiscated by Indian Customs, way back in 1994 at Delhi. These priceless antiquities now valued at Rs. 63.80 crore for accounting purposes only, belonged to various kingdoms and rulers spanning the period between 1200 to 1900 AD. It is a matter of pride that while we facilitate the EXIM community 24*7, we are also safeguarding the rich cultural heritage of the country by preventing the smuggling of these priceless and rich cultural treasures.
CBIC participated in the 21st Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) and 30th Regional Contact Point (RCP) meeting of Asia Pacific region on 12th November, 2020 held by video conference. During the conference, an offer was made to the international community that our Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL) be recognised as a Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) of the World Customs Organisation. This highlights our commitment to international cooperation and was well supported by the WCO and a number of Customs Administrations. The tremendous amount of work done in upgrading our Labs and skilling its staff over the past few years has given us the confidence to be of service to the international community and Custom Administrations around the globe.
Last week saw a drive launched against the entire network of GST evaders including a few tax professionals. It includes all those who have been creating, supporting, servicing and advising fraudsters in setting up a web of fake companies to engage in bogus circular trading. Passing on ITC in contravention of law results in harming businesses. Genuine suppliers become uncompetitive when fraudsters supply goods and services without payment of GST. It also deprives the government of its legitimate revenue. In the week since the drive began on 7th November, almost 350 cases have been registered against fake GST invoice fraudsters. This has led to identification of 1180 fake GSTINs and resulted in a large number of arrests. The drive will be intensified in the days to come. The proactiveness and urgency shown by all formations in this important endeavour is appreciated.
While taking action against tax evaders, constant efforts have been made to simplify procedure, especially for genuine small taxpayers. One such scheme is the quarterly filing of tax returns along with monthly payment of taxes (QRMP scheme), which is to commence from 1.1.2021. This scheme is the outcome of a decision taken by the GST council in its 42nd Meeting held on 5th October, 2020, that registered persons having an aggregate turnover up to Rs. 5 crore be allowed to file tax returns on a quarterly basis while they continue to pay tax on a monthly basis. Further simplification and flexibility has been introduced in the procedure for payment of taxes also to suit small businesses. A detailed circular about the scheme has already been issued on 10th November, 2020. This should reduce the compliance burden of small taxpayers in a substantial way. Zonal Chiefs and their officers should reach out to stakeholders through webinars, meetings, displays, social media, etc. to sensitise the taxpayers about the benefits and features of the scheme.
The SVLDRS scheme, introduced in 2019, was a success by the date of its completion. It helped in the resolution of long pending indirect tax disputes pertaining to the Central Excise and Service Tax regime. The scheme was extended due to the challenges faced by the taxpayers as a result of the Covid pandemic. However, taxpayers from the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh could not take advantage of this scheme fully due to certain circumstances local to that area. Accordingly, the Central Government has decided to extend the operation of the scheme for taxpayers of these two UTs only. Board has issued circular no. 1075/01/2020-CX dated 14th November 2020, that nuances the operational modalities of the scheme. Jurisdictional officers of Chandigarh Zone may reach out extensively to the taxpayers of the Union Territories ofJammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, and handhold them in ensuring this scheme meets it objectives.
Continuing its Swachhta initiative, Pune Zone transformed a garbage-littered area in its office/residential complex by recycling/ re-furbishing discarded items and a container and setting-up an ‘ICE Cafe’. My appreciation to the officers and staff of the Zone for this unique initiative of achieving the twin objectives of both Swachhta and staff welfare. All Zones need to continuously come up with similar innovative ideas.
Before signing off, I wish you and your family members a safe and healthy week ahead.
(M. Ajit Kumar)